Monday, 23 May 2016

Blog Tour: How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell (Historical Romance, Romance, 9/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

Check out the other stops on the tour!

Love the colour of her dress!
April 2016, Piatkus, 384 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Little, Brown
The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive . . . but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.
Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the others . . .

Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke's proposal. All she must do is:
* Be the perfect English rose (Ha!)
* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns (blast Lady Dorothea's sylph-like figure)
* Charm and seduce a wild duke (without appearing to try)
* Keep said duke far, far from her heart (no matter how tempting)

When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

Nayu's thoughts 
 I was intrigued by Charlene's story because I knew it must be so hard to pretend to be someone else in order to save her family. The story switches between James and Charlene's point of view. It starts with James, and initially I had quite a low opinion of him, until the bombshell that ends chapter 1. Wow! Didn't expect that as a plot twist, definitely not straight away. That alone saved me from skimming over his pov scenes - yes I do that as I really prefer a girl's point of view. While my low opinion of him wasn't unreasonable, I can say he is tenderhearted, he does really care about the welfare of others (when he stops being an idiot and pays attention to his employees which is all I'm saying on that matter. Trust me you will know what I mean when the plot turns to cocoa). He clearly had a rough childhood, and put up a lot of defences to protect himself. Charlene finds a way through them, despite his best intentions to stay away from her. 

I would have liked a little more time spent on Charlene's training to be Lady Dorethea, as it was but a brief glimpse. I understand several days isn't a great deal of time to train her (that isn't the several days of being with James, but the time before that), but I'd love to have seen her perhaps make a few more mistakes than the sherry glass, or be able to prove that she was a quick learner. 

That and the rather mature content aside it's a brilliant read. I loved all the different outfits she wore, however briefly, as they sounded elegant and beautiful. I'm not that shallow, I loved how much Charlene cares for her younger sister, how she puts Lulu's needs first before her own. How she would choose to endure anything evil Grant wants to do than let her sister be tainted. I love how she manages to help so many lives in such a short space of time, that she does so knowing she won't be with James again (it's a happily ever after tale, so she is, but even I didn't know how that could happen). I love how Charlene is kind to James' staff, something which the other debutantes aren't. 

They are an entertaining trio, well, 6 of them including their mothers. They all behave outrageously in their own ways, my favourite being Alice who is mischievous and a bundle of fun - be sure to have a dictionary at hand because there's a term beginning with frug- that I will not write because it will spoil the surprise as to what Alice is all about. I looked it up, it isn't at all inappropriate, it is a real word, just one that I'd have missed out on understanding if I hadn't looked it up as soon as I saw it. 

I love Flor - that's all I can say as who she is is part of the plot. Charlene understandable takes a natural shine to her, and that's yet another way she shows James her true heart, even though she can't reveal who she is really is until the end. Many heart in mouth moments over Charlene's safety, both from the wrath of her pretend mother (who was a constant surprise), the slimeball Grant, and her ability to get into trouble because she follows her heart and her head. More of her heart :)

The book is now available online in stores like Amazon UK

Find out more on Lenora's website

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